VOCALS SERIES PART I: TEN YEARS OF SINGING NOT LIKE A PRO

August 29, 2020 § Leave a comment

A couple of months ago someone asked me what effects I used on the vocals of “Winter dawn”. I promised I would reply, immediately thinking (of course) “I can’t reply to this without saying more about how I view vocals in my music!” :-)
So here we go, starting with this picture of me singing in public for the first time ever, 23rd May 2013, for my return to stages after a 4-year-long break, at the church of St George in Lisbon, organized by – who else – the mighty Galeria Zé dos Bois (thank you Sergío Hydalgo for your trust! :-))
I want to tell you about that show because I’ll never forget it and it says something essential about why I sing. I was a nervous wreck before *and* after the show, to the point of thinking afterwards that I might give up on playing live if that was how I was going to feel. During the show? I was *just* in control of my emotions. I was not particularly prone to stage fright until then, though after a 4-year-long break, any artist would feel nervous, but it was really the thought of singing in public that had turned into a mountain for me: I had just released my 2013 album The weighing of the heart, on which I sang for the first time – a decision which on a personal and artistic level had felt epic (thank you Glen Johnsonof Second Language Music for trusting me!) – and yet I did not anticipate how deeply I would feel (and fear) the connection between my voice and me as a person.
Singing is such a special, personal, “bodily” instrument, the direct experience of which has largely disappeared from our Western societies, and the title of this post is a little jab at the notion that the voice is something that has to be slick and/or impressive, something you are born with (hence “talent shows”) or that needs to be trained a-la-fitness style, to show a vocal equivalent of perfect abs. I am not interested in impressing anyone when I sing, and wouldn’t dream of calling myself a singer; rather, singing is part of my musical toolbox, I use it (and words) to convey something which I cannot convey with instruments alone, and for that I am grateful I made the jump :-)
Photos by far out and beyond.

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